12 Sep 2017

Learn How to Update Your WordPress

Community members and developers work to keep WordPress updated. Other than adding new features and addressing security issues, these updates simply improve the WordPress UX. However, learning how to update your wordpress site can be tedious. This guide addresses the importance of staying up to date and offers tips on what to do when upgrading a WordPress plugin, version, or site.

Updates Patch Security Holes

The primary reason to update your wordpress site is security. Although the WordPress CMS is immensely popular, it is far from perfect. When site owners don’t update their wordpress themes and sites, the site itself becomes vulnerable to intrusion. Following a regular update schedule is the best way to reduce the risk of a cyberattack.

Bugs are Fixed With Every Update

Although every version of WordPress undergoes weeks of rigorous testing, bugs still get through occasionally. When new functions and features are tested, the chances of a malfunction increase. Every new WordPress version fixes bugs that were found after the last release, and users can see the release notes for specific details.

Updates Bring New Features

With the popularity of WordPress, users regularly get to experience new functions and features. These new add-ons are designed and intended to make it easier to run a WordPress website and, in most cases, they’re the result of direct user feedback

Follow Basic Best Practices

In most instances, updates go smoothly. However, to ensure a hassle-free upgrade, site owners should take a few precautions. To avoid serious problems, never try a new update on a live WordPress installation. Test them in a sandboxed environment, which minimizes the risks posed by a failed update.

Wordpress Hosting

Set Up Auto Updates

Every WordPress site has automatic updates enabled for translation files and minor releases. While it may be convenient, process automation isn’t always beneficial. Devs are often slower to bring their plugins up to date when a new WordPress version comes out. In some cases, these problems can break a site without the owner’s knowledge. Therefore, it may be a good idea to disable automatic updates.

Check Plugin Compatibility Before Updating

A plugin can significantly affect a website’s design or function. If a plugin is found in the WP directory, the user can check its compatibility on the appropriate page before committing to the upgrade.

Perform Frequent Updates

Before undergoing a major update, site owners should always do a wordpress database backup. If something happens, the site can be restored to its last working configuration and its data won’t be lost. Several software-based solutions are available, and a site owner’s choice depends on which solution the server uses. WordPress plugins can create on-demand backups to be placed on a server, stored in the cloud, or emailed to a specific address.

Updating WordPress

There are two main ways to install a new WordPress version to a website: the one-click update from the WP dashboard and the manual FTP update. Regardless of the option a site owner chooses, they should try the update on a remote copy of the website so issues are found before downtime occurs.

  • A one-click update is found in the plugins section. Before updating core files, users should first update themes and plugins.
  • The FTP update process is a bit more involved. Start by backing up the WP installation and database, and download the newest WP version. Turn off plugins, access the server through FTP, and delete the necessary WordPress files. Upload the new files to the appropriate folders, and visit the WP backend to run an update script. Be sure to update permalinks in the appropriate menus and, finally, reactivate plugins to ensure compatibility with the new version.

Checking the Site After Updates

After finishing an update, it’s important to ensure that everything is working normally. To test a site, open the home page, go to a few subpages, read a post or two, log into the admin dashboard, and create a post. While doing so, look for design changes, layout breaks, and other glitches. If there are no problems, that’s great! If issues are present, however, the user may have to restore the site to an earlier version.

Restoration After an Update Fails

Website-MigrationIf a site is taken offline when you update your wordpress themes, database, or the site itself, there’s no reason to panic. If the owner has done proper backups, they can restore the site to its last working configuration. Database restorations are usually done with a management tool such as phpMyAdmin, and users should be patient during the process. After the database is restored, the process is repeated with the files on the server. Here’s how it’s done with an FTP client.

  • Start the client and connect to the site’s FTP server
  • Delete everything but the folder marked wp-content/uploads, which contains the site’s media
  • Browse to the most recent backup on the hard drive or in the cloud, whichever is applicable
  • Upload the necessary files (except for the wp-content folder) onto the site’s server

When the process has finished, open the wp-content folders on the server and in the backup. From there, restore all files except for the Uploads folder, which should already be present.

Conclusion

That’s how to update your wordpress site and recover from a failed upgrade. After completing the steps above, visit the site to see how successful the restoration process was. If it failed, it’s time to troubleshoot the update process on an online or remote copy of the website.

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08 May 2017

How to Create and Manage a Multilingual WordPress Site

It’s undeniable that the internet has prompted increases in globalization and access to information. Today, people all the way across the planet from each other can communicate in real time, and anyone with a computer can access information from across the globe. Sites like WordPress, which is sometimes referred to simply as “WP,” allow just about anyone to create a unique website. However, while this internet giant hosts fully one out of every four websites currently in existence, only a quarter of these sites are available in multiple languages. While the more than three billion people using the internet on a daily basis speak hundreds of languages, many of these languages are either underrepresented or completely unrepresented on the internet.

 

What Does That Mean For Businesses?

Increasing multilingualism on the web comes with a host of advantages for business owners in addition to the obvious benefits of facilitating better communication and allowing more internet browsers to comfortably surf the web. A Multilingual WordPress site is much more likely to attract international business, which not only increases traffic to the site but also improves the chances of even a small business expanding its reach. By addressing potential customers or clients in their own language, businesses can also create a more comfortable browsing experience, increasing conversion rates and brand loyalty.

 

An Overview of Options

Although WP does not directly support multilingual blogs, it does support extensions that make it possible to create them. These extensions are created by third-party developers and are generally quite good. However, using a Multilingual Plugin isn’t the only way to create an effective multilingual website. A web hosting tool called WP Multisite can also be quite an effective means of accomplishing the same goal. Read on to find out more about each of these solutions.

 

Using Plugins to Create a Multilingual Blog

As one of the first multilingual plugins that became available on the platform, the WPML plugin is well-developed and uniquely equipped to handle just about any multilingual website. Although the content itself still needs to be translated by a native speaker or translator, once it is created, the plugin makes it simple to toggle back and forth between languages. This is accomplished via something called a language switcher. Placing one or more of these in prominent positions on the website allows visitors to easily choose which language they want to use to view the page.

When it comes to the translations themselves, most businesses find they get the best results from translations provided by native speakers, despite the extra cost. However, desktop translation software is available for those who don’t place a high value on readability. Either way, there are thousands of developers and a great many excellent translation services that are fully integrated with the plugin, meaning that any content needing to be translated can be sent directly from the dashboard instead of manually copying and pasting it elsewhere.

 

Using Multisite to Create a Multilingual Blog

The second option for multilingual blog hosting is the use of a tool called Multisite. As the name implies, this tool allows developers to host multiple sites on the same server using the same IP address. That means users can create multiple blog sites that say exactly the same things in different languages and manage them concurrently using the Multisite interface. The process of creating and maintaining this network doesn’t require much more than managing a standard site. Unlike the most popular multilingual plugins, though, Multisite does not include fully integrated translation services.

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29 Mar 2017

Shared Server vs Dedicated Server: What’s the Difference?

When a business owner launches or upgrades an e-commerce website, they may have to choose between a Shared Server vs Dedicated Server. There are many important differences between the two Hosting options, and potential customers should do their own research before making a decision. In the guide below, readers can learn the most important differences between shared and dedicated servers.

 

Server-Hosted Sites

With a shared host, there are other sites on the same server as the customer’s website. When customers choose a plan with a Dedicated Server, their sites are alone on a server.

 

Disk Space and Bandwidth

In shared hosting packages, the customer is allotted a limited amount of bandwidth and disk space because others are on the server as well. Customers can face steep charges if they exceed their allotment. However, with a dedicated host, disk space and bandwidth are unlimited, with no sharing involved.

 

Cost

In shared hosting packages, resources are divided among multiple users, so operational costs are split as well. Users of dedicated servers can expect to pay higher costs because they’re not sharing resources with other website owners.

 

Security

With a shared web hosting plan, the host company installs server security apps and firewalls. However, those on dedicated plans must take responsibility for their sites’ security. Shared hosting plans come with higher risk because other sites are hosted on the same server.

 

Desired Amount of Control

Dedicated servers offer users greater control as they have the ability to add their own scripts, applications, and programs. By comparison, shared servers give users no such ability. With a dedicated package, the user gets improved flexibility and security to go along with the higher level of control.

 

Potential Blacklisting

On shared servers, there’s a greater risk of search engine blacklisting. If another site owner engages in unethical practices, the entire IP range may be blacklisted. On dedicated servers, a site will not be blacklisted unless the owner does something dishonest.

 

Response Time and Performance

On a Shared Server, traffic may be high—which can deplete bandwidth and other resources and cause slow response and loading times. This is not an issue on dedicated servers because resources are not shared.

 

The hosting option a customer chooses will depend on their website and server needs as well as their budget and the amount of control needed. Regardless of which hosting type is chosen, it is vital that customers make informed decisions.

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